5 Tips to help you overcome dog walking challenges after lockdown
With great excitement many of us, both humans and dogs, eagerly ventured out on 1 May to stretch our leg. The “with great excitement” was most probably my first mistake as half way into the walk I was mortified to find my dogs lunging and barking at other dogs. The Pawfect Pack had turned into a very un-pawfect pack.
As we walked along I was struck that both the humans and dogs might need some help pawfecting their walking routines. The humans were not really sure what this mask thing was all about and many of the dogs were just so over excited. It is very important to get out and active, in line with the government regulations, so we thought that sharing some tips and hints on how to handle your dog would be really helpful, the mask is totally up to you.
Pawfect’s expert dog trainer, Belinda Bolte from 1-2-1 Puppy Training has the follow tips for us.
- Start your walking adventure calmly. This means stop talking to your dogs and saying words like walkies” or “lets go walkies” as this excites your dog and they get super energised. This will in turn often lead to barking, jumping and a number of other behavioural challenges.
- Put your dog’s walking outfits [Collars, leads and harnesses] on at least 20minutes before you are going to leave [try practice this as an exercise like you would practice any new command/ word you are teaching. A great time to practice is before meal times and as soon as your dog has completed their meal then take their walking outfit off] Make sure your walking outfits are sized correctly so your dog can’t wriggle out of it and escape. Remember your mask and poop bags.
- If you have a puppy or dog that likes to chew their lead or walking outfits, then make sure you keep an eye on them while you are waiting for calm behaviour. You may want to try sitting in a relaxed way and wait until your dogs are relaxed before leaving your property.
- Set yourself up for success and plan your dog adventure, dogs thrive in routine environments. Remember its super busy now as everyone discovers the beauty of being out of our homes, so if you have a nervous or excitable dog then give them space, try choose a route that is not so busy so they can get accustom to seeing humans and with their dogs.
- If you are walking in a very busy area please keep your dog on a short lead so you have better control. If you do use an extended lead then make sure you keep it short when it is busy. We need to all be social distancing that includes our dogs.
I would really like to encourage you to try some of these tips and persevere. A well-exercised, tired dog is a good dog. I suppose the same applies to humans.